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My name is Chloe and I am a 19-year-old girl currently studying photography at the University of Florida, but I have come across a most shattering problem. I feel that there is basically NOTHING for me to do in this world as a feminist artist. Most successful artists in this world are men. I have considered changing my major, but everything I am interested in seems to be dominated by men and very exclusive/competitive. I need some advice about what a young girl like me can do when it seems as if this world offers little options for women other than roles as secretaries or homemakers (not to downplay any of those careers, but its not for me).
- Chloe

   

Dear Chloe,

I think there are many people have felt exactly the way you feel, but imagine what the world would be like if all of us resigned ourselves to that thinking? Women would surely have even less representation than they do now. It is not easier being a minority if whatever profession you choose, especially because it means that you have to devote time both to your passion and to changing the circumstances.

I just had dinner with a friend who was pursuing a PhD. in English. She was committed to doing academia differently--she wanted to do away with the hierarchies, the condescension, etc. However, she realized that it was harder to do than she thought. And the problem she realized was that there were probably other people just like her, but the nature of academia divides people and keeps them from realizing that they might share something. So she started talking to people and realized that other people felt like she did -- and so together, they promised to work on changing the system. Power in numbers.

That's a long winded way of saying that I bet there are other people just like you--and together you can make it less isolating of an experience. And even though there are few women in certain professions, there was a time in the not to distant past, where there were no women in many professions. So there is hope. So my two cents is that you continue with your passion and though it may be harder than you want, your example will then make is slightly easier for others, just as your work--just being at college for instance, was made possible by the women who came before you. I hope that helps.

Good luck,
Amy

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